An Evil World and Our God Above
by Wayne Childress 9/25/2013 / Christian Living
All too often I have heard of people saying that they can't believe in God because of the evil in the world. I am not sure if that can even be fully understood by Christian believers guided by the Holy Spirit. I do know that if we can accept our finite understanding, we can reach not only acceptance of the existence of God but that we can know of His immutable righteousness. In my spiritual journey, I have been led to see the answer to the dichotomy of God and evil as much simpler than most philosophers. We must begin by asking ourselves a few questions.
If we are just animals can we be evil. Is an animal wrong for killing? A Male grizzly bear will kill and eat his own young if given a chance. Is the bear evil? It acts in its own interest. Offspring compete for food and mates. The bear is just eliminating the competition and gaining an easy meal to boot. Would not most people agree that any father that killed and ate his own kids was wrong? Of course they would, because we are not just animals. Still man became a predator - the ultimate keystone predator. Since the Fall the whole earth is cursed (Genesis 3).
So why is murder reprehensible because God exists? In Nature, procreation reigns supreme when a female is in a conception cycle. So why is rape wrong because God exists? In Nature the spoils go to the strong. So why is theft wrong because God exists?
Evil does not disprove the existence of God; rather, our knowledge of evil proves God exists. This should sound at least vaguely familiar to any Christian reader. What caused Man's Fall - the gaining of the knowledge of good and evil - by disobeying God.
Evil is a moral judgment. Morals stem from our collective conscious knowledge of good and evil. Evil is, to me and in this article, defined as any act contrary to the desire of God. If there is no God there is no evil. We know all too well that there is an abundance of evil.
So why is there so much evil in the world? Because most people don't believe God is real. Most people don't care how God wants them to act. Hence most people act evilly. Most people don't believe Satan is real either. I heard a comment once that, to paraphrase, goes something like this, "The greatest trick Satan ever pulled was convincing people he wasn't real". Satan is the original when it comes to evil to acting contrary to the desire of God. Satan and his followers dread the day of reckoning which is coming. Have you ever wondered why Satan is the adversary and accuser of man? It drives him nuts that God loves man so much we can be forgiven. I guess this goes hand in hand with another saying, "Misery loves company".
So why doesn't God prove Himself? Well one could say He has. Evil started with man with Adam - who knew God was real (Genesis 1). Then again, when He flooded the world and left only folks that knew for a fact He was real Noah and his family (Genesis 7-9). So what's the problem? We are. Freewill is the greatest gift God gave man when He created him it is also what has caused so much evil. It has caused so much evil that God once regretted creating man (Genesis 6:6).
If God were to prove to the world today that He is real, and serious about us listening to Him, how do you think most people would act? Do you think that they would love Him as their Creator or would they be scared to death and fear Him more than love Him? God gave us freewill so that we could choose to love Him. He didn't want robots. We are created in His image. Any parent can tell you that they want their kids to behave and to listen to them out of love and respect. Parents (most) don't want blind obedience out of fear or a child that is such an automaton that they have no personality.
God "allows" evil because He gave us the freewill to choose or reject Him. Satan is the prime instigator; but, man causes the evil in his own world not God. If we all lived as Jesus Christ lived there would be no evil. Christ sought the desires of God above His own desires. You can rest assured that when Christ does come again most of the world will be in for a rude awakening.
So why do bad things happen to good people? It's because we all live on battlefield earth. The whole world is more than just a war zone it's the main battlefield. The war is between Satan who demands obedience because of his ego and God who wants obedience out of love for Him as our Creator. There is no safe place on a battlefield for a warrior. Every nonbeliever is a draftee warrior for Satan and every Christian is a volunteer warrior for God. That's why the Bible warns us we will suffer - 1 Peter 3:14 & 17; 4:15-19, Revelation 2:10, and etc.
Now to get deeper, some folks may point to Exodus 32:14, 1 Samuel Chapters 16-19, 2 Samuel Chapters 12 and 17, and etc. and ask how can God do evil and/or why would He do it. First I would say we need to clarify something all sin is evil but not all evil is sin. Evil is against the desire of God, sin is against the command of God. Does any parent desire to spank their child no? Will they yes, if they feel it is needed. God can, and at times does, do that which He would rather not do. And if people repent in time He will stay his hand.
Our use (abuse?) of freewill has caused God regret. Using a computerized Bible search (like e-sword), look up "repented" and "Lord" and you will get a dozen hits. Does this mean God erred? Of course it doesn't. A parent will allow a child leeway to test them. If the child fails the parent may regret it; but, such tests are a necessary part of life. That is what freewill is all about the ability to choose to do good or evil.
Blaming God for the evil acts of man is like blaming the sunshine for sunburn. You have to have sunshine for sunburn to happen; and, the more man abuses sunlight the more sunburned he gets. Does that make it the sunshine's fault? Of course it doesn't. The problem is that Satan is throwing a beach party and wants everybody to compete for the best tan and he has a lot of contestants (those of us trying to stay lily white stand out like a sore thumb). Along the same lines, exercising our freewill is like sunbathing do it a little and you're ok do it too much and you're going to get burned.